Not a bad scent. Just a boring gourmand. Been there, done that. Bread and a few light spices.
Serge Lutens has done gourmand before; most obviously in the guise of Five O-Clock au Gingembre, Louve, and Rahät Loukoum. Jeux de Peau extends the line further in that direction. Yet where those earlier scents were either spicy or syrupy-sweet in their approximations of food, Jeux de Peau approaches comestibles from a more savory angle. It’s still dessert, mind you, but it’s more almond brioche than fruitcake or baklava.
A warm, yeasty, fresh baked goods accord greets the nose almost immediately, soon followed by sweetening touches of heliotrope and immortelle. Dry sandalwood balances the sweetness with a vaguely nutty influence, while a dab of the apricot familiar from Lutens’s earlier Daim Blond adds a welcome piquancy to the central arrangement. Jeux de Peau stands out as one of the few scents I know (along with Jubilation XXV and Etat Libre d’Orange’s Like This,) that successfully incorporate immortelle without drowning themselves in its dense, viscous tide.
While Jeux de Peau is extremely soft in olfactory texture, it projects well from the skin and plays out in a linear manner for several hours’ wear. The dusty cedar and mild, powdery amber drydown smells disappointingly hollow once it arrives, but at least it’s not oppressively sweet or heavy. Despite the faintly risqué name (which translates as “skin games”), wearing Jeux de Peau is a pleasant and comforting experience. Yet I feel the scent betrays its name in that, for all its cuddly texture and comforting associations, it wears awkwardly on my skin. The impression is hard to convey, but after every wearing I’m left thinking I’d like Jeux de Peau better in a room spray or a candle than on me.
Very discrete games
The opening's spices take on a wormed-up bread note with a dirty fruity character, which later sees some wood added. An original take, but extremely faint ofter the first thirty minutes, with very little silage and projection on my skin. Gone after about two hours. The points are for the originality of this skin game.
Jeux de Peau would have benefited from greater weight placed on its darker notes of immortelle and toasted cereals. More maple syrup and less cheap caramel, please! Before the inevitable sugar crash, the scent does a nice impression of a plump croissant smothered in apricot jam.
It's not as if Lutens hasn't fallen into this sticky trap before, yet he still sometimes misjudges the balance between what's appetizing and what's merely edible.
Souk popcorn. Mellow and foody, with a topping of butter if one is being charitable, dry sweat if one is not – a certain saltiness rising above the glutenfest. A little while in, the milky sweetness began to rise but never got uncomfortable and then a few hours later it subsided again and I was left with a toned down version of the opening. If this were available in small bottles, I'd get it like a shot – it certainly intrigues even if it does not wow.
Buttered sweet popcorn - reminds me of kettle corn.
Bois Farine is to peanut butter sandwich as Jeux de Peau is to buttered toast and maple syrup.
This is a doughy immortelle with a sweet woody-amber drydown and a brief floral-licorice opening. Very cloying and mildly interesting at first, but the novelty wears off pretty quickly.